7 derelict buildings of Belarus
In case you've already explored Mir, Niasviž and Ružany in all kind of ways, and still want to explore more – there's no need to rush to an embassy for a foreign country visas. We've picked up some unknown places in Belarus, where the scenery is breathtaking indeed: from former palaces and manors to chapels with tombs. Prepare yourself to become a path-breaker of new geolocations, or at least post something new on the Instagram.
This is a small town on the border with Poland. Once there settled noble born family of Chadkievič, and that was the reason for regular visits of the principal warlord of GDL to this place. In the 18th century, Bierastavica received Magdeburg rights and the coat of arms with the squirrel in the middle. Locals actively participated in the revolt of Kastuś Kalinoŭski. It is said that namely there the "Mužyckaja praŭda" [TN: eng. "Peasant's truth", one of the first periodicals in Belarusian (written in lacinka)] was printed. In short, this place has a rich history. "This place can't dispense with a nicely constructed roman catholic church", – probably thought Hieronim Chadkievič before building the Church of the Visitation there. Even in an abandoned state, it looks incredible, and not least because of its size.
Besides, have a look at the Catholic Church of the Transfiguration. It's smaller and built later (in 1912), but this neo-Gothic building was renovated recently.
How to get there: A bus from Hrodna will take you there in an hour approximately. Check the bus schedule on the website. A car trip from Minsk is just over 3 hours, and you'll need to go by M1 and P99 roads.
Yes, you've probably thought of the same name metro station in Minsk. But we're speaking about another Hrušaŭka – the one that is situated in Brest region and was a noble manor of Rejtans once. The famous German family settled in the township as early as the 16th century. And the manor in the style of classicism was laid in the 18th century (by the way, it was made of stone originally). This happened when the most famous representative of the family, Tadeuš, was born. He almost ripped off the first partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth making the first political performance: he laid down in front of the building, where the partition meeting took place and yelled out loud: "Kill me, but don't kill the motherland!". The nowadays wooden building is absolutely different from its original, but the fact of its conservation is amazing. Happily, this year Poles together with Belarusians had decided to renovate it.
Still, the most interesting place to visit is not the manor itself, but the sleek chapel of Rejtans in Neo-gothic style, that stands nearby. It was built in the early 20th century. Vaulted portal, large windows, and even the evening local lightning looks impressive!
How to get there: The best way to get there is by car: riding M1 first, and then going by P4 route. If you have no car, have a train ride to Liachavičy station (and the distance to Hrušaŭka from there is only 5 km). The everyday train from Minsk to Liachavičy is number 657B. But to be honest, it's not very handy to use it as it arrives at 1 A.M. To make it easier, make a transfer in Baranavičy. Take a bus from Liachavičy to Hrušaŭka. A ride will take you 15 minutes approximately.
It is worth going here for the sake of the manor Umiastoŭskich, built in the 19th century. The manor was created by the whole generation: Jakub began the process, his son Kazimir added two brick outhouses, a greenhouse, and a barn, and his wife wanted to add some beauty, so she ordered to build a palace in neo-classical style. It was no need to project everything from scratch – a plan for the building was copied from the famous Palace on water in Poland. Needless to visit Łazienki Palace for a nice picture, as soon as the same building is situated on the bank of river Havia.
In the fullness of time here was situated the scientific center of Vilnius University, and during the First World War, the Germans made a resort in Žamyslaŭl'. A few years ago in the Palace of Umiastoŭskich there was a fire. Fortunately, it ruined only the top smallest part of the building. And also we all hope for the renovation process for this beautiful building! By the way, the manor was previously surrounded by a park, that was projected by the French gardener. But you cannot enjoy its view nowadays because it hadn't stood the test of time.
In olden times this ancient town was a place, where the noble family of Ažeškas lived. Eliza – a famous writer, who fought for women's rights, and even supported the revolt of Kalinoŭski, was a regular visitor here. At the beginning of the 19th century the manor, a distillery, and other buildings were built without subcontracting, and for the building of the chapel the famous architect Francišak Jaščol'd was invited. He was one of the pioneers in constructing neo-gothic buildings in Belarus. The construction was finished in 1849. But after the January uprising, the building was arrested and the noble family had no right to use it, so it was used for a Catholic church first, and as an Orthodox church later. Inside were icons and stained-glass windows, which have not survived to our time, but for now, you can still admire the elegant lace rib pattern. We advise you to come to Zakoziel' in the late afternoon – at this time building illumination is on and the chapel looks truly mystical.
How to get there: First, go by train number 657 to Drahičyn, then transfer to the bus to Zakoziel'. The transport connection is frequent, check the schedule here. Regarding the way by car, twist wheels in the direction of the M1, then P84.
The first Catholic church in Žaludok was built by the order of the Duke of Lithuania Kasimir, the owners of the place were Sapieha and Tizenhauz noble families, and the Swedish king Karl XII had chosen Žaludok as Headquarters during one of the battle operations! At the beginning of the 20th century, Ludwig Svyatopolk-Chetvertynsky decided to consolidate the status of the small town and ordered to build a great palace in the Baroque style (that was designed by Władysław Marconi). It took some more time before an outbuilding, a brewery, a smithy, a mill and some other buildings were built. During the war, the palace housed a military hospital. And now it's a place where films are shot. Inside the building, a steep (in all senses) staircase survived the test of time and waits for you to take a cool photo on it. All in all, this place is a must see!
Going there, be sure to look at the local Catholic Church, which is the Church of the assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. A Catholic church with classical style columns is a rare sight!
How to get there: The most rational version of a trip goes from Minsk to Dziatlava by bus, which goes to sanatorium Radon (if you miss the stop – it doesn't really matter). Next, find a suitable tour and in 50 minutes you'll be at the destination point. If you go by car, move on M6, turning to the P141 afterward and in 3 hours you'll see the Palace.
If a 3-hour-ride is not an option, but you still wish to visit some beautiful place – please mind going to Smilavičy. The claim to fame of this place is the Palace of Maniuška. The most useful for Instagram photographers is the so-called Old Palace with its three-storey pseudo-gothic tower that stands here for more than 100 years!
How to get there: The instructions are simple here: buses to Smilavičy run often and cost approximately € 1, so hurry up to buy your ticket! Even if you are the first time at the wheel of a car, you won't miss it: to get to the destination point you need to ride a bit down the M4 route from Minsk.
The last, but not the least cool place to visit in our list. Sometime in Moladava one of the first sugar refineries was situated and even an extremely beautiful farmstead of Skirmunt stood there. The latter, by the way, made the town a real cultural center: the French often visited this place. Unfortunately, the Palace was blown up, and only the chapel, that was built back in 1905, still stands here. It worth traveling for the sake of this only chapel. Just think about it: if a chapel looks so good, try to imagine how amazing the farmstead was itself!
How to get there: First, move in the direction of Pinsk by bus. And from there go to Moladava, by bus either. You won't wait long for a transfer, check the schedule here. If you choose a car, it will take you 3 hours going by M1 route with turning to P6 later.
Тext by Dmitry Selitsky, translated by Vlad Sivakov